Story originally posted at www.rvia.org
ORR member the RV Industry Association applauds the leadership of Indiana Senator Blake Doriot for recognizing the importance of growing Indiana’s outdoor recreation economy and introducing a resolution to urge the establishment of an Indiana Office of Outdoor Recreation Development (Senate Concurrent Resolution #15) within the Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC). Doriot is joined on the resolution by State Senator Linda Rogers and State Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane. On January 30, 2020, this resolution was approved unanimously by the Indiana Senate Committee on Natural Resources and will next go to the State Senate floor for a vote. If the Indiana state senate passes this resolution and IDDC creates the office, Indiana will join 17 other states who have established offices of outdoor recreation.
The newly introduced resolution outlines the priorities for the Outdoor Recreation office, including increasing outdoor recreation-based economic development, tourism, and ecotourism; promoting the growth of the outdoor recreation economy; and promoting the health and social benefits of outdoor recreation.
Governor Eric Holcomb created the IDDC in October 2019 to enhance economic development, attract new talent to Indiana’s workforce, and enhance the state’s profile as a great destination for visitors. The IDDC is led by Elaine Bedel, the previous president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the state’s lead economic development agency.
“Having worked with Elaine on several RV industry initiatives in the past, including the creation of the RV Technical Institute, I know that her expertise in both public and private sector policymaking will be extremely valuable to the success of this office in growing the outdoor recreation economy in Indiana,” said Mike Ochs, RV Industry Association Director of Government Affairs. “We look forward to continuing to work together on this new initiative.”
“In Indiana, we have a tremendous opportunity to expand our outdoor recreation economy— that means more high-quality jobs and more economic opportunity, particularly in rural parts of our state,” said Elaine Bedel, Indiana Destination Development Corporation Chief Destination Officer. “And I am pleased to be joined by Office of Tourism Director Misty Weisensteiner, whose experience and vast industry knowledge will help transform how we tell Indiana’s story.”
RVers are avid participators in many outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, biking, fishing, climbing, boating, and snow sports. And while outdoor recreation is a significant part of our American heritage, it is also a pillar of our nation’s economy. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported in 2019 that outdoor recreation represents 2.2 percent of the total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and contributes $778 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
“In Indiana, the RV industry has an economic impact of $32.4 billion and supports more than 126,140 jobs and $7.8 billion in wages paid to Hoosiers,” said Ron Breymier, executive director of the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC). “We are one of many industries in the state that have a vested interest in our state parks, our campgrounds, and the other outdoor spaces that make Indiana a great place to call home. I’m happy to support this resolution from Senator Doriot and look forward to its success.”
The RV Industry Association, along with other members of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, have called for governors in all 50 states to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation. As of January 2020, 17 states have created an OREC Office or Task Force.
The RV Industry Association will work with policymakers in Indiana to support the successful passage of this resolution.